The 26 Most Inspiring Divine Masters Throughout Time
Guru. Master. Teacher. Sage. There are endless synonyms and titles for the bigger-than-life figures that have graced our planet’s existence. Whether they walked among us to lead by word, example, or both, they are beings we must look to for guidance in our journeys.
It is said that when we have a Guru, not just a humble teacher, but a true Enlightened Master, our paths are expedited and we can reach liberation in a much shorter period of time. Since we all have the spark of Love & Light that fills every Divine Being, our fires are already ignited. All we need to do is choose a path and dive into it with all of our hearts. Vulnerability, prayer, mantra, chanting, forgiveness, and rituals are some of the tools.
Divine masters encompass an amazing dualism of both lessons for our physical and spiritual lives. They help us align our bodies with our minds and find the right path for our souls while taking care of our physical health. No matter your concerns and troubles in life, you are sure to find solace and assistance in the lives and lessons of divine masters.
If you are looking for a new role model for your physical and spiritual journey or need consolation in your current life situation, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, I’ve put together the 25 most inspiring divine masters who have ever existed. Within this list, you can learn about their journeys on Earth and the shoes they have left for us to fill.
While the full list of saints and wonderful souls could be endless, this list comprises some of the most popular. Reflect on these figures as you turn inward and apply the lessons of these gurus to your journey.
Amma the Hugging Saint
Mata Amritanandamayi, better known as Amma, is a revered spiritual leader in India with a mission to comfort the entire world. She is known as the “Hugging Saint” for Her tours in which she lovingly embraces every person who comes to see Her. Amma’s mission is to extend the true love she holds in her heart outward with physical actions that benefit humanity. She has hugged over 40 millions times as of this writing.
Amma has the broadest, most remarkable mission in human history. She has reached more people and blessed them – than any other human figure.
Amma tours, holds retreats, and even has an Ashram in her name. People from all over are welcome to follow her, meet her, and emulate her love for the world.
To many, Mother Meera is the physical embodiment of the Divine Feminine. She was born in Southern India in 1960 and now resides in the German countryside. She is best known for sharing the blessing of Darshan, which is to be in the presence of the Divine, by offering her time in complete silence to humanity and bestowing light upon the souls who seek it.
If you’re looking for a teacher in the traditional sense, Mother Meera is not the figure for you. She does not offer verbal guidance – instead, she is the presence of the Divine itself from which you can draw peace and enlightenment.
Thich Nhat Hanh
If a silent presence like Mother Meera isn’t what you’re looking for, then maybe a poet-activist is exactly what you need. Thich Nhat Hanh is famous for his peace, ethics, and mindfulness teachings. Most of all, he preaches that we must live what we teach – and that he does!
At 16 years old, Thich Nhat Hanh became a Buddhist monk in Vietnam. He believed that he could forge a new path for Buddhism in which the religion could respond to the world’s needs in its current political climate. He has since become a published author and influenced many world leaders, calling for peace and reform in many industries.
Jesus the Nazarene: Well-Known Divine Master
Jesus is followed by over a third of the world’s population, standing at the center of Christianity. Jesus was both a historical man and a divine master, devoting his life to the suffering of humanity and lifting them from the depths of temptation and death. He marked the end of the Old Testament understanding of the Jewish God and began both a religious and political movement that would forever change the world.
Jesus is believed to have performed many miracles on Earth, becoming the champion of the poor, sick, and oppressed. During his lifetime, he preached forgiveness, mercy, and unconditional love for all people. He also stayed close to his mother, Mary, who we also hail as Divine Mother and can invoke through the Hail Mary prayer.
Siddhārtha Gautama, widely known as the Buddha, was a revolutionary born near the Indian border in Nepal. At first, Siddhārtha made contributions to philosophical thought in his local area, but his teachings spread long after his death to form the foundations of Buddhism.
Spiritually, the Buddha teaches rebirth and of the enlightened state of self, called Nirvana. Physically, he leads the life of the “middle way” and exercises moderation and critical thinking. Overall, following the Buddha means letting go of the Ego, finding balance, and achieving peace.
Mohammad ibn Abdullah
Jesus founded Christianity, Siddhārtha founded Buddhism, and Mohammad founded Islam. In Islam, Mohammad was a prophet who received the Quran from God as a final revelation before the world’s end. Suffering persecution early on, Mohammad had few followers and sent many away from his home region to protect them.
Mohammad preached monotheism despite threats against him from the widely polytheistic society. While Mohammad’s teachings were rebellious to the religious and political leaders of his time, he was a uniting force for many people, converting almost the entire Arabian peninsula to Islam by the time of his death.
Kuan-shi Yin, which means “observing the world’s cries,” is recognized across Asia as the Buddhist goddess of compassion and mercy. As a Bodhisattva, Kuan Yin has earned her place as a Buddha but has chosen to dedicate her life to saving humanity instead of enjoying Nirvana. She is often depicted with a thousand arms, representing her vow never to rest until all beings are freed from the cycle of reincarnation and suffering of the world.
In Hinduism, Krishna is credited as the creator of the universe and the eighth incarnation of another Hindu god, Vishnu. This hero’s journey is accounted for in sacred Hindu texts, in which at a young age, he fought off many enemies and forces of evil with his advanced weaponry expertise. To save him from those who feared him, his mother disguised him as a commoner in a village. There, he dazzled many with his charm and talent. Now, Krishna is revered as both the bringer of enlightenment and a punisher for bad deeds.
Sri Ma Anandamayi is a divine presence of self-sufficiency and joy. Born in 1896, she grew into a mysteriously aloof yet warm personality that struck the hearts of all who encountered her. No matter where she traveled, she was met with great reverence, and many came from faraway places just to see her.
Sri Anandamayi Ma’s teachings are numerous but include achieving a life full of simplicity, love, and good works.
Sri Ramakrishna was born near Kolkata in 1836 and grew up utterly uninterested in worldly affairs. Instead, he loved the arts and philosophy. He listened to men in philosophical discourse, singing, and painting. He was known for entering states of ecstasy in which he experienced visions and had a devotion to Mother Kali.
However, perhaps the most revolutionary thing about Ramakrishna was his ability to achieve the highest levels of revelation in several different religions, including Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. He preached that all faiths are just different paths to see God.
Babaji, reigning from the foothills of the Himalayas, claimed to be a manifestation of God. He did not need to be born into humanity through a woman. When people encountered him, they all saw him as a different person, whether that was young or old, shaved or bearded. One day, he is said to have climbed a mountain and sat in a yogic fashion for 45 days to meditate. Then, he began preaching his message: humanity was in trouble and needed to rebuild society as a humanitarian refuge with their eyes towards God.
Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī is now known as one of the most famous poets to have ever graced the world with his verses. Born in the 13th century, Rumi was a scholar, theologian, and poet. His influence now transcends time and language, spreading his message of infusing love throughout the world with its basis in Islam.
The First Sikh Guru: Nanak
Guru Nanak was the original Sikh, the founder of the religion. Born in Talwandi in 1469, Guru Nanak was born to Hindu parents under Muslim authority. Growing up, Guru Nanak refused to take on the faith handed down by his parents. Instead, he meditated and spoke with holy men in Hindu and Muslim traditions. After an eventful revelation, Guru Nanak realized a new religion and began traveling to spread the good news and turn upside down many of the strict laws of established religions.
The Last Sikh Guru: Gobind Singh
Gobind Singh is the last physical Sikh guru, dying in 1708. He was a philosopher, poet, and warrior and is attributed to starting the Sikh warriors called Khalsa. During his lifetime, Gobind Singh installed the 5 K’s, the articles of faith that the warriors wear, and wrote the Dasam Granth, sacred texts consisting of hymns and stories. Many look to the Sikh Gurus for strength and inner stillness to remain steadfast during storms of change.
Master Zhang Ying realized her psychic abilities from an early age. While she was raised within the Buddhist faith, her powers and practices extend beyond the traditional understandings of Buddhism and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Throughout her life, she has been able to heal others through her ability to move chi, diagnose physical and spiritual concerns in her patients, and connect with the spirit realm.
El Morya, Ranbir Singh
Ranbir Singh was the son of the ruler of the Kashmirs in the 1840s who protected his land against British invasion. When Ranbir took his father’s place, he continued to improve his society by instituting fair civil and criminal laws and uniting divided factions. After his death, he was written into literature as an ascended master called El Morya with ties to Buddhist divine masters and is now channeled for assistance in defense against harm and decision-making.
Master Koot Humi
Koot Humi, also known as K.H. or Kuthumi, is said to have been the inspiration for starting the Theosophical Society in 1875. During his lifetime, he engaged in letters with other theosophists in India and was revered for being strong-willed but logical and calm. He has reincarnated several times, born as figures such as Egyptian Pharaohs, ancient thinkers, Catholic saints, and Indian princes. Students of his life and teachings as a divine master are encouraged to open their hearts, express unconditional love, and seek higher knowledge.
Moses the Prophet
Moses was seen as one of the fathers of the Jewish and Christian faiths, a prophet spoken to by God to bring freedom to the enslaved Jewish people. God also tasked him to provide commandments by which to live. Through faith and determination, Moses did as God asked and thereby performed miracles that allowed him to bring the Jewish people to their promised land. We can look to Moses for leadership skills and steadfastness in the face of adversity.
Merlin: Pop-Culture Divine Master
Myrddin Wyllt, better known as Merlin, was a court magician, bard, and King Arthur’s protector in the 5th century. His legacy involves a dark history of demonic dealings because of his relationship with magic. However, he was a known shapeshifter and prophet who helped King Arthur defeat his enemies and protect his kingdom while still only a teenager. Many people look to him for guidance in decision-making, persevering through troublesome times, and foresight.
Melchizedek was both a King and Priest, though the only Caananite recognized as a figure of authority in the Bible. Abraham paid tithe to him, and he is revered as a solid father-like figure, although he is never mentioned in the very detailed account of lineage in Genesis. Therefore, Melchizedek’s existence and importance in the Bible and history remains somewhat mysterious. Many channel him for righteousness and oneness with creation.
Ramana Maharshi, born Dec. 30, 1879, is an ascended master, avatar, liberated Being, and Hindu sage. He died on Apr 14, 1950 as Venkataraman Iyer. To his devotees, he is Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. As a boy, He would visit a sacred hill known as Arunahala where he embodied the source of The Universe and the complete current (sound, light, energy, electricity) of all reality. He spoke of this embodiment as the true Self, the personal God, or Shiva (Ishwara). His devotees came from all over the world and an ashram emerged around him. He would sit silently and allow for questions, noting that the most advantageous path to liberation is self-inquiry. Remove ignorance and be devoted to The Divine. This will help you surrender fully to the Eternal Self, which is within you.
Paramahansa Yogananda is the father of western Yoga, focusing on self-realization and finding God using the path within. He has built a following for his teachings on spiritual living and meditation using Yoga as a centering practice. He has also traced Yoga back through history and shown how other divine masters, such as Jesus and his disciples, used the same approach in their spiritual lives.
John of God
St. John of God, also known as father to the poor, was a Portuguese soldier in the 1500s who lost his faith and lived a life of temptation and darkness. Later, he realized the error of his ways and turned to a life of work in health care. He tended to the sick, both in body and mind, and was later canonized with a considerable following. He is now channeled for assistance with mental illness, poverty, death, and strength for health care workers.
During his meditations on Daoism, Zhang Daoling had a revelation claiming that Laozi, the great sage, appeared to him. Laozi told him of the “coming peace” called Taiping. This revelation drove him to begin preaching a new Daoism, keeping the tenet of physical immortality but stressing the need for religious organization. As a result, he founded the Way of the Celestial Masters, also known as the Five Pecks of Rice. He taught that illness resulted from sin-mindfulness and that Daoism offered spiritual healing that many tap into today.
Zoroaster was an ancient prophet in Persia who started the first historically acknowledged world religion between the 18th and 16th centuries BCE. He wrote the sacred book Zend Avesta in which he recounts a vision he had about the cosmic war being waged between the God of Light and the principle of evil. This concept of choosing between good and evil was the first push towards monotheism in the Middle East and guided Persian civilization. This religion now serves as the basis of the Parsi faith in India. Many draw on Zoroaster for guidance in choosing good over evil.
Kong Zi, known in Latin as Confucius, profoundly influenced philosophy and religion throughout Asia by teaching about morality and justice. He tapped into the very truth of the universe and humanity’s existence to draw out guidance for people to live by in their daily lives. He was the first to historically teach the concept of the Golden Rule, which is to only do unto others what you would want to be done to you. Many look to him for balance and guidance in ethics without being tied to organized religion.
Begin a New Path to Self-Realization and Love by Following Divine Masters
With such an expansive list of divine masters, we still have only touched on just a few. You’re sure to find in this list some inspiration, whether you choose to devote your meditation and prayer practices to one, a few, or all of the above-listed gurus and divine personalities. The deeper you dive into your research and relationship with these divine masters, the more inspiration you will find in your journey to self-development and spiritual alignment in your life.
You are a beautiful Living Being filled with light and love, born from stardust. You are unlimited potential in every direction. With a focus on discipline, virtue, and your own goodness, you can become as expanded and liberated as you desire.
Pray for others, and the Universe prays for us.
LOTS OF BLESSINGS TO YOU!